Many of the biggest names in the soccer world will be on hand in Zurich on Monday, when the outstanding individuals of the past 12 months are recognized at the FIFA Ballon d’Or gala. Here’s a rundown of all the awards and contenders who will descend on the Kongresshaus.
FIFA Ballon d’Or
The climax of the proceedings will be the announcement of the men’s world player of the year, where Cristiano Ronaldo will be vying to win the award for the third straight year, but faces intense competition from Barcelona forward duo Lionel Messi and Neymar.
The award came into its current format when the FIFA World Player of the Year, voted for by coaches and captains of each national team, and France Football magazine’s Ballon d’Or, decided by journalists, merged in 2010. Now coach, captain and a chosen journalist from each country will decide on the most prestigious individual honor in the world’s most popular team game.
The prize has been dominated for the past seven years by Messi and Ronaldo. Argentine star Messi has already won it on a record four occasions, while Real Madrid’s Ronaldo, as well as winning it for the past two years, took the honor in 2008. The third of the contenders, Neymar, will be on the podium for the first time, following his influential role in Barcelona taking home five trophies in 2015.
FIFA Women’s Player of the Year
The United States’ Carli Lloyd will face off with Japan’s Aya Miyama and Germany’s Celia Sasic. All three will be on the podium for the first time, but it is Lloyd who appears the standout candidate after inspiring the U.S. to victory at the 2015 World Cup, where she became just the second player, man or woman, to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final. Miyama was on the losing side that day, but captained Japan to its second straight final. Sasic, meanwhile, took home the World Cup’s Golden Boot and also top-scored as her club Frankfurt won the Champions League, before retiring from soccer in July.
Men’s Coach of the Year
Luis Enrique will fancy his chances after winning five trophies with Barcelona, including a treble last season. His competition will come from former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, winner of the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich last season, and Jorge Sampaoli, an Argentine who led Chile to their first ever senior international title at last summer’s Copa America.
Women’s Coach of the Year
For the women, Jill Ellis is seemingly the outstanding candidate after overcoming plenty of doubters to lead the U.S. to its first World Cup crown since 1999. England came so close to facing the U.S. in the final, having suffered an agonizing semifinal defeat to Japan. Still, England coach Mark Sampson is recognized for his stewardship of a team that exceeded expectations in Canada. Japan’s Norio Sasaki makes up the final three.
The award for the best goal of the year, named after Hungarian great Ferenc Puskás, will be voted on by fans from across the globe. The top three has already been revealed, with Messi’s sensational solo effort in the Copa del Rey final, Alessandro Florenzi’s strike from the halfway line against Barcelona and Wendell Lira’s wonderful acrobatic volley in a Brazilian state championship game all vying for the honor.
FIFA Ballon d’Or gala start time: 12:30 p.m. EST
TV channel: ESPN Deportes